German Politics in 1924-1929

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German Politics

German politics in 1924-1929, was made up:

  • Coalitions
  • President Hindenburg
  • Liberal Parties
  • The SPD
  • The Centre Party
  • The DNVP
  • Limitations of the political system.
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Coalitions of German politics

The Coalitions that were workable were limited:

  • Coalitions were one of the problems created by proportional representation. 
  • It was impossible for a coalition to be formed by the SPD and DNVP because they were completely different parties, on different ends of the spectrum:
    • The SPD wanted democracy, whereas the DNVP rejected the Weimar Republic.
  • The KPD remained isolated. 
  • Right-centre coalitions tended to agree on domestic issues. 
    • However, they disagreed on foreign affairs. 
  • Whereas, broad coalitions, such as the SPD, DDP and DVP, tended to agree on foreign affairs.
    • However, they disagreed on domestic issues, making things difficult. 
  • The thought of democratic govts gaining stability was a very little chance of coming true. 
  • Only 2 coalitions managed majorities. 
  • The longest lasting coalition govt, only lasted 21 months. 
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President Hindenburg

President Hindenburg became president following the unexpected death of Ebert in 1925. This is when political problems were created:

  • The election was close with 3 candidates, who didn't reach a majority vote. 
  • Despite this, Hindenburg was elected with 48% of the vote. 
    • (Wilhelm Marx only recieved 45%, whilst Ernst Thalmann only recieved 6%).
  • There was no immediate move to the right, even though Hindenburg was part of the DNVP. 
  • He showed loyalty to the constitution. 
  • However, he had a lack of sympathy for the values of the Republic.
  • He also preferred to exclude the SPD. 
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The Liberal Parties

Liberal Parties did not hold strong positions in German Politics:

  • The DDP and DVP joined all coalitions, and the DVP leader (STRESEMAN) proved to be the only capable Chancellor. 
  • However, their share of the vote was halved since 1920. 
  • They collapsed after 1930 because:
    • Both the DVP and DDP were internally divided. 
    • The DDP lacked clear leadership. 
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The Social Democrat Party (SPD) remained:

  • the largest party in the Reichstag until 1932. 
  • Some members of the SPD feared that their principles would be weakened by joining coalitions. 
  • However, the party was hindered by the argument between committed and extreme left wing socialists, and the moderate gradual reformists.
  • As a result, the SPD did not join any coalitions that would weaken their power. 
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The Centre Party

The Centre Party (Catholic):

  • It provided most of the leadership within Weimar. 
  • It participated in all coalitions.
  • However, the party's support was restricted to traditional Catholic areas, which lead to internal divides. 
  • They were led by left wingers, Matthias Erzberger and Josef Wirth, in the early years. 
  • This changed in the 1920s, as they decisively moved to the right.
  • As a result, they helped to appeal to more conservation coalitions. 
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  • Had been totally against the Weimar Republic, since 1919. 
  • They also refused to take part in govt, despite the 103 seats they had in the Reichstag. 
  • However, after the 1923 crisis, their aim of restoring right wing govt was decreasing. 
  • As a result, they joined coalitions in 1925-1927. 
  • However, their policies were not popular with all their internal groups.
  • For example, the extreme right wingers asserted their influence. 
  • This led to the group reverting back to it's programme of total opposition. 
  • In addition, the DNVP worked closely with the Nazis around this time. 
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Limitations of the Political System

The political system in Germany, however, had its limitations:

  • It failed to make any progress and coped as best as it could. 
  • There were growing cynicism towards politics was shown by people towards party politics. 
  • In the 1920s, there was a decline in voter turnout. 
  • There was an increase in unstable and extreme fringe-parties. 
  • Parties did not cooperate well. 
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